Paid internships and work placement amid pandemic for 16 to 24-year-olds

Posted at 2:09 PM, May 06, 2020

Teens and young adults are entering a more uncertain job market depending on their industry.

It also means tougher competition against more experienced workers.

But if you’re age 16 to 24 and live in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties there’s paid internships and work placement to get you ahead.

It’s the start of the workday and 20-year-old Awsome Popa, vet technician at East Coast Veterinary Services already has a half dozen four-legged patients with completely different needs.

“I’m a receptionist and technician for large and small animals - and I help with surgery,” said Popa.

Popa says her career trajectory changed in a matter of months after enrolling in CareerSource Research Coast’s Youth Employment Success Solutions work-readiness program.

The program falls under the much larger Youth Services umbrella for eligible 16 to 24 year-olds.

It involves a case plan and an internship in a range of careers.

“I was literally going nowhere and then I enrolled with CareerSource Research Coasts’ Youth Connections Services,” Popa said. “It’s not just about the GED, it’s not just the resume building - they want you to dip your toes into your future.”

Youth Connections is eligibility-based, designed to help teens and young adults determine their education and career goals, and stay on track until those goals are reached.

”We have them perform career exploration and skills assessments - it is my job as a career coach to ensure that our youth are successful,” said Melanie Tarnoff, CareerSource Research Coast lead workforce career coach. “There’s also certifications - food handler certification, hospitality certifications, emergency medical technician - and certified nursing assistant.”

Additionally, there’s opportunities to earn incentives based upon successful completion of skill building activities and transportation assistance (bus passes and gas cards) provided.

“We not only help them attain the job, but retain the job,” Tarnoff said.

“These steps couldn’t have happened for Awsome without CareerSource Research Coast,” added Dr. Valeria Biehl, East Coast Veterinary Services owner. “But a young adult also needs to have good values, drive and a work-ethic.”

To learn more about Youth Connections Services visit, here: